KATY (Covering Katy News) – Until just two weeks ago the general public could easily stop by the media table at Katy school board meetings and chat with a reporter or slip them a note. It was an easy-going atmosphere that most reporters seemed to enjoy. Last week’s misbehavior by aggressive so-called anti-bullying advocates has changed years of tradition for good.
No longer will the general public be able to congregate behind the media after the school district’s deputy police chief and others witnessed what has been described as “taunting” behavior taking place behind reporters. The moves were made with safety in mind.
Covering Katy suggested the changes to the room’s configuration and district leaders agreed that last week’s episode should never happen again. Among the actions that concerned district leaders was a man who flashed his handgun holster at a reporter. He told a Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office detective that he did not have a weapon, but admitted having a holster and claimed that “he was just being silly.” The detective said the man claimed to have left the gun in another location when he went to the board meeting.
Former journalist and current school board member George Scott knew the district was addressing the problem and went on record in support of its efforts to be sure hooliganism was prevented in the future.
“We are all probably aware of the situation from the last meeting where private citizens attending the school board meeting were able to congregate in large numbers directly behind the workstations of the news media,” Scott wrote “We are also probably aware that a Katy ISD police officer proactively positioned himself to help maintain order because of his observations of a situation for which he apparently had concerns, based upon his actions, might have gotten out of hand,” Scott added.
Ending years of tradition, the working media will be moved to a different part of the room where the general public does not have the ability to congregate behind them according to Dr. Andrea Grooms of Katy ISD.
“The table for media writers/journalists will no longer be located in the center of the room, Grooms said. “It is anticipated that this will prevent bystanders from peering over the shoulders of media/journalists who may be seated at those tables,” Grooms said.
“I know that before I wrote my letter that the district was already taking steps to address this issue but I wanted to be sure that I was on record supporting these changes,” Scott told Covering Katy.